Tips and Tricks for Maximizing Your Time and Increasing Productivity

Don’t Start Your Day with Negativity

Although many of us start each working day by watching or listening to the news – for example, while eating breakfast or drinking coffee – Los Angeles lifestyle coach Ruth Klein believes that depressing reports and coverage of catastrophic events can distract you from efficiently accomplishing your morning routine (getting ready for work, taking children to school, etc.).

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She states that it’s much better for our mentality and, therefore, our productivity to refrain from doing so; instead, you should watch or listen to it later in the day.

Time Limits to Save Time

According to the latest American Time Use Survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2005, the average American watched a total of 2.6 hours of television a day. “Reducing your television-watching time by five hours a week adds up to 11 extra days a year,” says Laura Stack, author of Find More Time. Also, she suggests setting a timer (the length of which she advises to be no more than 60 minutes) when internet surfing.

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This tip is excellent for those who find themselves procrastinating or being sucked into social media, for example.

Don’t Get Distracted During Peak Time

To maximize productivity and, therefore, make optimum use of your time, Los Angeles lifestyle coach Ruth Klein states that you should pinpoint the time of day at which you are at your best performance-wise – and feel your “freshest” – and remove all distractions during this period.

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Klein argues that routing all calls to voicemail and avoiding looking at your email for a specific amount of time is a useful tool to increase productivity in the long run, which is beneficial to us all.

Act Now, Don’t Wait for “Later”

Jana Kemp, a “time architect” based in Boise, Idaho, and author of No! How One Simple Word Can Transform Your Life, states that you can save up to 10 hours a month in accumulated time by taking instant action on everyday tasks such as email, voicemail, or paperwork.

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That is to say; you should immediately either read, answer, delete, or file them, so they don’t have to be readdressed later on. Making this a habit says Kemp, is beneficial to anyone who feels there aren’t enough hours in the day.

Don’t Waste Waiting Time

Laura Stack, the author of Find More Time, advises people to make the optimum use of waiting time – for example, when waiting for a doctor or dentist appointment, or when taking a long train or bus journey.

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She states that by bringing work papers to read, drafting emails or other forms of correspondence, or paying bills while waiting, one can optimize their time and tick the more mundane, menial tasks off their everyday to-do lists. It’s logical, really, but it does save time and contribute to a sense of achievement and productivity.

De-Clutter Your Mind by Writing

Los Angeles lifestyle coach Ruth Klein argues that continually going through a to-do list in your mind hinders creativity and productivity, and you should instead carry a pen and pad or electronic device with you at all times so you can immediately write things down as they come into your head.

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This has the effect of clearing your mind, which Klein states allows you to think of solutions and new ideas more quickly. Also, it promotes clarity of mind and helps prevent you feeling “bogged down” in ideas or mental lists.

Thinking “Half-Time” to Save Time

Think of ways to cut the time it takes to complete your everyday tasks in half, advises Laura Stack, author of Find More Time.

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Examples include arranging a carpool for your children’s ballet classes or soccer practices, wearing a wireless headset while you talk on the phone so you can simultaneously do chores such as watering the plants or tidying up, and making double batches when cooking and freezing what you don’t immediately use. Even though individually, they might only save a small amount of time here and there, it all adds up!

Decisiveness Is the Key to Productivity

Indecisiveness is a problem for many of us – whether we want to admit it or not! Every minute spent making a decision can slow down your ability to take action, according to Jana Kemp, a “time architect” and author of No! How One Simple Word Can Transform Your Life. She uses the example of booking airplane flights: rather than spending hours researching the best deal only to save minimal money, set a time limit of one hour to comparison price shop before making a final decision.

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Doing this common practice will save a massive amount of time wasted on indecisiveness.

Go Easy on the Cleaning

Aiming for “dirt removal” as opposed to “perfectly spotless” can free up a lot of time, according to Laura Stack, author of Find More Time. “In my house, I wipe down the stall after showering instead of doing a big thorough scrub every week,” she says.

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“Consider washable throw rugs rather than carpets that need constant steam-cleaning, and change the heating and cooling system filters quarterly to cut down on dust.” This not only cuts down on the amount of time required to clean but also makes for a more relaxed lifestyle!